Dance History Dance History & Culture Time, Place, People, & Ideas Ancient & Lineage-Based Cultures European Cultures In ancient cultures, people recorded their history through art. We know people danced in ancient cultures because they left paintings on stone walls that depicted their ceremonies. Ancient Greek Cultures Pottery is decorated with dancing images. Literature and poetry describing the ceremony and dance that was important in their culture.
Early African Dance Early evidence of dance: Is provided in Egyptian tombs and in stone carvings. Historians found evidence of elaborate funeral rituals which included movement or dance. Evidence that large groups of dancers traveled with Egyptian royalty. Along with musicians, they performed on holy and worldly occasions. West African Tribes Many styles and purposes Drums are the primary instrument used in these societies Always danced in lines, patterns and circles Talented individuals can break from the group to demonstrate their skills A variety of dance postures used
Example The Yoruban dancers of Nigeria-Keeping the body at very low levels that are close to the earth. Tribes celebrate and worship through dance and movement. Example The Yoruban tribe which worships through dance as they celebrate the river goddess Oshun/Osun. Women wear white and move with composure and decorum. The dancers believe that the spirit of Oshun will overtake one of the chosen dancers who will then be consulted as a healer of the village. Some other tribes that incorporate dance into their worship include the Ashanti, the Congolese, the Dahomean and the Ibo. Native American Dance
Examples of ceremonial or ritualistic dance. Hunting tribes of North America honoring totem animals: The Ute Bear Dance occurs in the spring; it symbolizes a beginning of new life and leaving troubles behind. The Eagle Dance it is believed that this animal can fly so high it will take the prayers of the tribe to heaven. Agricultural tribes: Pueblo Tribes celebrate by worshipping spirits who they believe help them obtain food and water. Example Pueblo blue corn dance in which dancers act out the planting, growing and harvesting of corn. Native American Dance cont The Hopi Indians catch snakes which are held by dancers who sing and dance for four days--Believes
that the snakes will take their prayers into the world and to the spirits. Most dances in these cultural groups are performed either by men or women, but not a mix of both. Most dances are performed in a circle to represent that everything before, during and after life is connected. Drums are the primary instrument used in Native American dance. Medieval Dance The Medieval Era The dark ages or the middle ages Emphasized Christian influences and stressed the importance of using the arts primarily for religious purposes. Theatre and dance were outlawed as immoral. Gregory the Great excluded dance and drama from the Catholics. From 1200-1500, dancing was denounced by many church
councils. The act of men and women dancing together was eliminated by the church. Moving the body was considered sinful and prideful. Some churches began to accept dance as an activity. Dance developed in somebut not allchurches. When women and men were allowed to dance together, they danced in processional style side by side and never facing. May have danced in long lines touching only the fingertips. Medieval Cont. Some early dances from the Medieval Times: 1. The estampie is a musical form that had a dance that accompanied it. Some believed the dance involved fierce stomping,
while others believe it was made up of hopping movements. 2. The farandole was an early line dance. A leader would initiate movement, and dancers would sing while walking, running or skipping to the music. Moved in many directions around the floor.. 3. The Tarantella is a legendary pagan dance (varied stories relate to the origin)
a. Performed by people who had been bitten by tarantula spider, dancers believed that by dancing faster the poison of the spider would be worked out of the body. Other dancers joined, moving in groups and forming a line or circle pattern. Some believed that the spider-bite cure was invented to avoid the churchs no dancing mandate. Legend has it that many died from performing this dance. b. Another story behind this dances origin is that it began in Taronto, Italy, and was performed by gypsy troupes of that region. Dance was usually only allowed when attached to religion, and only then in situations strictly approved by church officials. officials
Renaissance & Baroque Dance Between the years 1400-1600 Renaissance means rebirtha rebirth of interest in classical ideals in all of the arts occurred during this era. Artists seized the chance to express new freedom of thought. In Europe, dance returned to the sanctuary. In Spain, the Feast of Corpus Christi in Seville demonstrated the return of drama and dance to Catholic worship services. The Catholic church struggled with the idea of a processional dance performed by young boys who sang and danced. Los Seises - A subtle raising and lowering of the heels while changing floor patterns.
Court Dance Invented by rulers, kings and aristocracy for stressing the importance of political gain and social etiquette. Entertainment for the kings and emperors. The dances took on both secular and religious meanings. Dance: a. Important social tool King Louis XIV of France insisted upon trained dancers in his court and first-rate dancing. b. Defined their strength
c. Display of power d. Allowed a system of patronage (financial support/ investment) Supporters would pay artists to produce art. The only downfall of this system was that it could change very easily depending on politics or even personal feelings. Court dancers 1. Wore elaborate costumes (music created specifically for the dance). 2. Rehearsed frequently. 3. Participants were introduced and arranged
based on their importance or relation to the ruler. 4. In French court dance, those who danced extremely well gained honor and advantage in the court. Court dancing also occurred in China and Japan. Were sacred rituals performed only for heads of state. Since World War IIperformed as theatrical events for the general public in theatres or on palace grounds. Chinese court dance changed into the Chinese Opera, which was later introduced in Japan. Bugaku is the oldest form of dance in Japan: A constant in Japanese dance and music for 1200 years. Contains elements of an ancient Shinto ritual. Performed by two, four, or eight men.
Allowed only in the Japanese Imperial Palace Theatre. Dancers wore identical costumes and full, painted masks. Ballet grew from the early court dance traditions.
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